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Sabah Churches Move into a New Season

 

5 November 2014

Sabah Churches Move into a New Season

by Bob Teoh

 

Sabah churches celebrated Malaysia Day this year by issuing an unprecedented declaration' titled as the Kota Kinabalu Declaration claiming the promises of God for the nation as we move into a New Season.

The 30-point declaration is the most significant Christian statement after the Kuching Declaration made by church leaders in 1989 over the Alkitab and Allah issue.

The declaration was issued today at the end of a three-day revival meeting themed as "Moving into a New Season" together with a "Mitabang Mamangkis." The Mamangkis is the battle cry from the pagan days but has been contextualised as the clarion call for Christian revival. Mitabang is the call for believers to close ranks and to help one another.

The Kota Kinabalu Declaration is signed by Bishop Dr Datuk Thomas Tsen, president of the Sabah Council of Churches, Rev Datuk Jerry Dusing, chair of the Commission on Sabah Affairs of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), Pastor Esther Golingi, chairperson of the Perpaduan Anak Negeri (PAN) Sabah or Native Solidarity, Pastors Steven Choon (English congregations) and Daniel Chin (Chinese congregations) of the Kota Kinabalu Pastors' Fellowship.

The Malaysia Day gathering was co-hosted by these organisations from 15-17 September at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association centre in Penampang with over 2,000 people attending. There were no key note speakers nor VIPs. Participants just joined in the six praise and worship sessions and colourful cultural dances. At the end of each of session those whom God had given a message or prophecy came forward to share them.

Quoting Scriptures, the statement declared that as "A triple-braided rope is not easily broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12b), therefore, "we declare our commitment to defend the sovereignty of Malaysia as a federation composed of Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya as equal partners on 16 September 1963."

On Ketuanan Melayu or Malay supremacy, it said, "The Federal Constitution is the supreme law in the nation and all citizens have equal protection under the law and any other form of supremacy is clearly ultra vires the Constitution and unacceptable."

Freedom of religion: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which Article 18 states, "that everyone has the freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance and the freedom to change one's religion."

Freedom of expression: Article 19 of the UN Declaration on freedom of opinion and expression states; "this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference".

Rule of law: The authorities must take urgent measures to remove oppressive and offensive laws and selective prosecutions and to restore just, fair, and democratic principles of governance as envisaged by the framers of our Constitution and our founding fathers.

Native Christians. By the will of the Sovereign Lord more than two thirds of the Christian population is made up of Malay-speaking Bumiputera believers, the first born of the land; the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia and the Anak Negeri of Sabah and Sarawak.

The prophetic Word of God declares: "Every place that the sole of your feet will tread upon I have given to you just as I promised to Moses." (Joshua 1:3).

Article 153 of the constitution. Peninsular Malays and indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak are accorded a special position and privileges, but the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia are excluded from such protection and it is timely after half a century of such unjust exclusion, the rights of the indigenous Orang Asal communities must be given due recognition with utmost urgency.

While the special position of the Malays and natives of Malaysia shall be safeguarded, it is timely that the legitimate interests of other communities in Malaysia be equally observed and upheld in accordance with the provisions of Article 153.

Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practised and people of other faiths shall have the constitutional right and freedom to profess, practise, propagate, and manage their respective faiths without interference and intervention by the State.

Shariah. The Constitution provides for laws to be enacted for the administration of Islam, such laws shall not be applied to non-Muslims nor non-Muslims be subject to Shariah law.

Judiciary. At its highest levels, the judiciary is increasingly becoming more inclined to defend the supremacy of race and religion than to abide by their oath of office to defend the supremacy of the constitution.

'Allah' and Alkitab. The prohibition of the usage of the word 'Allah' by Bumiputera Christians to refer to the one true God and the restricted ban on the use of the Alkitab, the Malay language Bible, since the early 1980s are gross violations of human rights.

Ecclesiastical authority. The right to determine the liturgy and theology including the translation of Holy Scriptures of non-Muslims reside exclusively with the respective ecclesiastical authorities. The State including Islamic agencies and the Sultans as heads of Islam in their respective states must not intervene in the exclusive province of other faiths.

The crisis over the usage of the word 'Allah' and the Alkitab remains unresolved for over 30 years now, the Malay speaking members of the Church in Malaysia have no other alternative but to continue to use this word and the Alkitab in the manner their forefathers have done so.

Islamisation. Extremist dakwah elements must stop their aggressive Islamisation by both covert and overt means to convert Bumiputera Christians through intimidation, deception, or inducement particularly targeting remote and poor villagers as well as conversions of school children living in government hostels.

Bin & Binti. The National Registration Department despite its denials are also classifying native Christians with 'bin' or 'binti' in their names as Muslims in their MyKad without their knowledge or consent. Such unlawful and oppressive practices must stop immediately.

Illegal immigrants. The government has allowed hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants to inundate the country by giving them identity cards and or citizenship since the 1970s while scores of native-born remain as stateless persons.

The influx of illegal aliens end up as eligible voters through dubious means known to the government to the extent they seriously undermine free, fair and democratic elections.

Against such acts of treason, action to the full extent of the law must be taken against those who perpetrate such treason regardless of how politically influential they may be in the ruling regime.

It declaration concluded with a consecration: NOW in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we do hereby declare that as from the seventeenth day of September in the year two thousand and fourteen, and by the Grace of God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we consecrate ourselves before the LORD God Almighty as we enter into a New Season seeking through hope, faith and love to embrace and uplift a Malaysia which is true and just to all its peoples. Amen.

To commemorate the consecration, an uncut stone altar was built on stage with olive oil poured over by the leaders as a place to call upon the name of the LORD and remember His glorious promises.

(For the full Kota Kinabalu Declaration please visit this link at NECF Malaysia website.)

 

 



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